Theatrical Release: November 2, 2001
Blu Ray Release: September 8, 2015
Director: Lloyd Kaufman
Review by James Klein
Unrated Film is no stranger to The Toxic Avenger series. Having reviewed the Japanese cut of The Toxic Avenger and the blu ray’s of both The Toxic Avenger Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, it was just a matter of time before Unrated Film was going to review the best installment in the series with Troma’s new blu ray release; Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
Lloyd Kaufman once again returns to the director’s chair in this extremely funny and very raunchy, over the top sequel that starts off with a brief recap narrated by Stan Lee that disowns the last two sequels. Within minutes of the film one knows what they are in for as Citizen Toxie‘s tone and humor is much like Kaufman’s last film, Terror Firmer. The biting satire that was missing from the last few installments has thankfully returned as Kaufman goes after political correctness, the media, pro-life and pro-choice activists…this film is bound to offend, repulse or disgust viewers to some degree.
The movie begins with the terrorist group The Diaper Mafia taking over the Troma School For Special (a hilarious look at a school for mentally handicap people) run by Debbie Rochon playing a pregnant teacher. The Toxic Avenger infiltrates the school by disguising himself as a bikini-clad reporter who quickly starts dispatching these villains in some majorly gruesome and disgusting ways. One villain literally has his own head shoved up his ass and is eventually decapitated which causes a couple of handicap kids to play with the severed head like its a volleyball.
After Toxie dispatches these criminals, he unfortunately cannot stop the bomb that was set to go off by one of the terrorists. The explosion of this bomb somehow transports Toxie to an alternate universe called Amortville, where the town is run by criminals. Toxie takes the place of his doppelganger named Moxie, who is the pure evil version of Toxie. Moxie doesn’t waste time in terrorizing the citizens of Troma by ripping the arms off the police sergeant and even throwing a small child against a brick wall.
The rest of the film deals with these two superhero/villains trying to get back to their own universe. Even Sgt. Kabukiman from one of Troma’s other films returns in this installment who has an all out fight with Toxie in one of the films most exciting action scenes. And that is what makes Citizen Toxie a much better film than the other films in the series, Citizen Toxie wants to be epic. It wants to be grand. It goes all out in everything: gore, action, humor, nudity, chaos. I have seen Citizen Toxie several times and I still catch jokes I missed. While ridiculous and stupid, Kaufman and company try their very best at making this the best Toxic Avenger film to date.
There is even a rather large list of cameos: Eli Roth, Lemmy, Corey Feldman, Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf, Ron Jeremy, Al Goldstein, James Gunn (who portrays a Stephen Hawkins-type scientist who tries to explain to the audience how these two superheroes switched universes before being run over by a car). Maybe one of my favorite cameos is Mark Torgl who played the original Melvin in The Toxic Avenger returning to the series as Evil Melvin.
Troma’s new blu ray release once again proves that they really have no idea on how to make a decent HD transfer of their movie. Citizen Toxie looks no different than the previous DVD release. If you don’t believe me, this release is a combo pack with both the DVD and the blu ray. Looking at both films side by side, I noticed no difference. The film still looks ultra grainy (shot on 35 mm) and the sound is mediocre at best. The upside is that there are a few new extras: a new introduction by Kaufman and a short Troma tribute to Motorhead’s own Lemmy. Ironically, the DVD has more special features than the blu ray! The DVD contains outtakes, deleted scenes, trailers and even a hidden Easter Egg of a Debbie Rochon interview discussing her character in the film.
But there are two extra features that are an absolute must to watch/listen to: the audio commentary tracks and the feature length documentary; Apocalypse Soon.
The first commentary is by Kaufman who, if you have never heard any of his commentaries, is not only hilarious but he offers some valuable insight on how to make an independent film with a low budget. He also has no filter and doesn’t care who he pisses off. The second commentary track is with the cast. This commentary is a bit of a mess with several actors popping in and out of scenes with some sound quality issues (I could barely hear the actor Paul Kyrmse anytime he came on). While sloppy, this commentary is still pretty funny and insightful as the cast mostly poke fun at Kaufman and his rather Roger Corman-type attitude about making a film (spoiler: he’s cheap). The third commentary track is with editor Gabe Friedman as he explains the rather difficult job in editing hours and hours of footage that was shot for this movie.
The feature length documentary Apocalypse Soon is a must watch and a no holds barred look at the difficult shoot of making the film. Filled with a crew of mostly adults under the age of 40, this inexperienced crew along with Kaufman’s volatile personality was like water and oil. We get to see up close arguments, firing of personnel, a mutiny of crew members, actors suddenly refusing to do nude scenes, equipment problems; having to be on this set looked like a nightmare. However, there is one sweet moment where Kaufman meets two small children who happen to walk on to the film set, asking him questions about making movies. Kaufman take the time to speak to these kids and listens to one child’s insane pitch for an idea he has about magic beans. While I was prepared for Kaufman to make a remark to these kids or subtly mock them, he actually is quite sweet and gives these kids hope in making a film by telling them what they need to work on. It was nice to see one sweet moment during the making of what looked like hell.
Citizen Toxie is pure insanity. The film is chock full of nudity and gore (this is the unrated version). If the thought of a 400 lbs man sucking on a woman’s toes while rubbing cheddar cheese on them disgusts you, you may many skip out of Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
Blu Ray Rating: